February 2017 Newsletter

Read the fully formatted version here: http://eepurl.com/cBANiL . East Brunwick Village Public Consultation Tuesday; uncertain future for the historic Sarah Sands; tall buildings, cultural events and more.

** Public consultation: East Brunswick Village

WHEN  7.30pm, Tuesday 14 February
WHERE  Brunswick Town Hall, Room E.

Local south ward councillors, Samantha Ratnam, Mark Riley and Lambros Tapinos, have organised this consultation to discuss proposed changes to plans for this massive site by The Banco Group.
* Download our flyer (https://brunswickresidents.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/2017-02-14_tontinemeeting2-flyer.pdf) to share
* Join and share the organisers' FB Event (https://www.facebook.com/events/1245454925562322/)
* Contact organiser Cr Samantha Ratnam on 0433 275 434

As reported in our last edition, at its January meeting Moreland Council's Urban Planning Committee deferred consideration of changes to the existing permit for the East Brunswick Village (EBV) project.

This Google view (right) shows the site before the recent demolition of most buildings. The site runs from John Street to Nicholson Street, and includes the carpark and large Tontine factory area seen in the middle of the photo. The ground has recently been cleared and most buildings demolished.

The project is expanding as the developers buy out adjoining businesses and land. The South Pacific Laundry site (located under the Flexicar label on Nicholson Street) was purchased last year.

The developers East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd – part of the Banco Group (http://bancogroup.com.au/project/east-brunswick-village/) – are seeking further amendments to the existing 2012 planning permit, for this major shopping, commercial and residential complex.

Originally, the project included plans for up to 1,000 dwellings in three stages, about 7,000 square metres of retail floor space (including a 24-hour 3,000 square metre supermarket), 7,000 square metres of office space, and about 850 car spaces. Over time, the plans have been revised into stages, with 293 dwellings and the supermarket in the first stage.

The plans before Council involve changes to an increase to the height of the two six-storey buildings at the centre of the project, by two and five metres (higher than the limits specified in the Brunswick Structure Plan). EBV are also seeking an increase in the total retail floor area from 4,007 to 4,254 square metres, and a shift of the location of the "travellator" (moving walkway) that will funnel customers from an underground car park into the supermarket, and potential removal of bollards that block vehicle access to John Street..
* Read the text of the proposed changes in  Moreland Council staff report to Urban Planning Committee (UPC) report from January 2017, pages 100-178: http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/globalassets/key-docs/meeting/agenda-council-upc/upc-agenda-25-january-2017.pdf

Last week’s ‘Domain’ feature in the Age picked up on our report in the January BRN newsletter, looking at the mix of apartments in large development projects. As the story reported: “Not even the state government or Australian Bureau of Statistics regularly keep tabs on the diversity of apartments approved across the city and whether there will be enough to cater for families.” –
* Melbourne apartments: number of bedrooms hard to pinpoint as developers reign (https://www.domain.com.au/news/melbourne-apartments-number-of-bedrooms-hard-to-pinpoint-as-developers-reign-20170203-gu35rn/)

If you can't go to the meeting, contact the Mayor or your local councillors:

Mayor Helen Davidson (North-west Ward)
Mobile: 0403 709 948
Email: hdavidson@moreland.org.au

Deputy Mayor Samantha Ratnam (South Ward)
Mobile: 0433 275 434
Email: sratnam@moreland.org.au

Mark Riley (South Ward)
Mobile: 0499 807044
Email: mriley@moreland.org.au

Lambros Tapinos (South Ward)
Mobile: 0433 419 075
Email: ltapinos@moreland.org.au

** Farewell Bridie O'Reilly?
Another piece of Brunswick history goes under the wrecking ball, as developers propose to build an apartment tower above Bridie O'Reilly's Irish Pub (the former Sarah Sands Hotel), on the corner of Sydney Road and Brunswick Road.

Developers Peregrine Projects, owned by Joseph Chahin, bought the site in late 2015 for $6 million. The pub will close in April and Chahin reportedly plans to build 60 apartments above a renovated hotel. The existing hotel has a partial Heritage Overlay, but much of the building is slated for demolition, keeping the facade.

We’ve already seen the overnight destruction of the 159-year-old Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton. Developers Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri had preliminary plans for a 12-storey tower on the Carlton site, but knocked down the pub last October, despite its heritage overlay. The State government is currently investigating the destruction, and whether the developers illegally dumped asbestos-contaminated rubble from the demolition on another site in Cairnlea, without permission for transferring dangerous waste.

The Age newspaper reports that Chahin’s Peregrine Projects tried to buy the Corkman site from Kutlesovski and Shaqiri, but was knocked back.

With previous projects, Peregrine Projects has bought land, developed a proposal or obtained a planning permit, then flipped the project to another developer before construction has started. According to their own website, Peregrine Projects purchased a site in Smith Street, Fitzroy and “engaged Kennedy Nolan Architects to develop a design for the site that maximised its potential. Peregrine then on sold the site.” For the Longford Apartments site in Toorak Road, Chahin engaged Skematics Architects “to develop a design for the site that maximised its potential. Peregrine then on sold the site with a council approved permit.”

As yet, there has been no formal planning application lodged for the Sarah Sands site, but it would be interesting to know how many meetings the developers have already had with Moreland Council staff.

The pub on the corner of Sydney Road and Brunswick Road has a lot of history. The Sarah Sands was one of the oldest pubs in the inner North, opening on 12 December 1854. The first licensee was Robert Barry, who named the hotel after the ship SS Sarah Sands – which was named after the wife of the mayor of Liverpool.

The year 1846 is listed on the hotel facade, creating the misleading impression that it preceded the Retreat Hotel as Brunswick’s oldest pub. In fact, the date marks the year the SS Sarah Sands was launched. Reconstruction occurred in 1872, a veranda was added in 1906 and removed in 1966. In July 1997, the hotel was bought by the current licensees and renamed Bridie O'Reilly Hotel, part of a chain of Irish-themed establishments.
Pictured right, The Sarah Sands as meeting place: 300 police await a major Orangemen's march (The descendants of Sergeant Denis Deasey, standing at right, still live in Brunswick). Detailed in the Weekly Times, 24 July 1897 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/221127221/23406350) .

Ironically, the Brunswick Community History Group holds its regular meetings at Bridie O’Reilly’s! You can contact them on phone 93871194 or email: brunswickhistoryinc@yahoo.com (mailto:brunswickhistoryinc@yahoo.com)
* Man who offered millions to rebuild Carlton's Corkman pub turns to Brunswick (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/man-who-offered-millions-to-rebuild-carltons-corkman-pub-turns-to-brunswick-20170208-gu8bbx.html) , The Age, 8 February
* Peregrine Projects website (http://www.peregrineprojects.com.au/brunswick.html)
*  More information on historic pubs in Brunswick and the northern suburbs (http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/historic-hotels-northern-melbourne#.WJ6zVNK7rxU) .

** New towers
Over the last month, a number of planning permit applications have been lodged with Moreland Council for major projects in Brunswick. All of the breach the height levels set out in the Brunswick Structure Plan. More towers anyone?

6 Lygon Street, BRUNSWICK EAST VIC 3057
MPS/2012/511/B, 10/02/2017
Development of a 9-storey building above ground with two levels of basement car parking containing offices and shops, use of the land for dwellings and a reduction of car parking associated with the shops and dwellings and alteration of access to a Road Zone - Category 1

343 Sydney Road, BRUNSWICK VIC 3056
MPS/2014/1051/A, 3/02/2017 Partial demolition, alterations and additions to the existing heritage building, including construction of an 8 storey building comprising of 56 dwellings, retail premises, reduction of car parking and waiver of the loading bay requirements.

7-9 Brunswick Road, BRUNSWICK EAST VIC 3057
MPS/2017/6, 4/01/2017
Use and development of the site for a nine level residential and commercial development with basement level parking

284-294 Albert Street, 343 Sydney Road and 343A Sydney Road, BRUNSWICK VIC 3056
Partial demolition, alterations and additions to the existing heritage building, including construction of an 8 storey building comprising of 56 dwellings, retail premises, reduction of car parking and waiver of the loading bay requirements. (next to the laneway on Sydney Road, leading to the Safeway, connecting to “288 Albert” )

** Revitalising Sydney Road
‘Revitalise Sydney Road’ and  Bicycle Network held a community meeting on 8 February to update people about plans to improve transport, pedestrian access and shopping in Sydney Road.

They’ve been developing plans that could improve access and safety for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles while improving the speed that trams can pass along the narrow stretch through Brunswick. In its current state Sydney Road does not benefit any of its users.

Tram speeds are slow at 7km/h during peak hour, and motorists don’t fare much better at peak hour.

It has been nearly two years since the death of cyclist Alberto Paulon, when the Moreland community stood up and demanded that Sydney Road be made safe. Apart from some cycling signs on the road, not a lot has been done. ‘Revitalise Sydney Road’ says: “A new vision for Sydney Road’s future is urgently needed, along with a commitment of funding to make it happen. With the next State government election in November 2018, now is the time to add pressure on government and council to take action.  Bicycle Network has now taken this on as a major campaign. Can you lend a hand?”
* For detailed proposals on developing accessible tram stops and utilising off-street parking to create more space in Sydney Road, check out the designs in this attractive booklet (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56ab7799cbced6c7e8d74a40/t/56ac59cfe321400276049470/1454312331921/Sydney+Road+booklet) .
* Revitalise Sydney Road website (http://www.sydneyroad.org/)

** VCAT rulings
Ryan v Moreland CC [2017] VCAT 24 (6 January 2017)

VCAT has ruled allowing the use of car stackers in a project with five 3-storey townhouses on a site at 132 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East (just north of Blyth Street near the tram super stop). Objections related to noise, and to questions of access via an adjacent bluestone lane. Despite approving the car stacker, VCAT noted “it is a large system for such a small development in an activity centre.”

Cornwell v Moreland CC [2017] VCAT 86 (6 February 2017)

VCAT has have approved, with conditions, the construction of eighteen residential apartments in a seven storey building at 458-460 Sydney Road Brunswick and the partial demolition of two commercial buildings, including the former Mitre 10 hardware store. This decision overrules a Moreland Council decision to refuse a planning permit for the external alteration of an existing building, due to the Heritage Overlay along Sydney Road.

** Public transport: better run by the state?
Over the next few months, the State government will make crucial decisions about the contracts to manage Victoria’s tram and rail networks, with the future of the privatised service to be decided by June.

The government led by Premier Jeff Kennett privatised the public transport system just before he left office (although the intercity V-line trains were returned to public ownership after their private operator walked away in 2002).

The current operators of the rail franchise is Metro Trains Melbourne , which is 60 per cent owned by Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation, and 40 per cent shared equally by UGL Rail Services and John Holland. In turn, MTR Corporation is 76 per cent owned by the Hong Kong government.

Trams are run by KDR Victoria, a joint venture between the French transport operator Keolis, and the Australian-based engineering firm Downer. Keolis, the senior partner in the joint venture has a 51 per cent stake. Keolis in turn is 70 per cent owned by the French government, through the state-owned railways company French National Railways Corporation (SCNF).

There’s an interesting debate brewing to say that the public transport networks should be returned to public ownership, given the significant revenues that flow to overseas corporations instead of reinvestment in the system.

Luba Grigorovitch, Victorian State Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, argues: "All up, the two operators have raked in over $10 billion in revenue, and $350 million in profits have been drained from the Victorian public transport system over seven years under the franchise agreements.”

Any comments on the future of your trams and trains? Should they be re-nationalised, or should contracts be let with strong ironclad guarantees of good passenger outcomes? Join the discussion on the Brunswick Residents Network Facebook page.
* Luba Grigorovitch: “The real cost of our metro public transport system (http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-real-cost-of-our-metro-public-transport-system-20170131-gu2b4j.html) ”, The Age 1 February
* Van Badham: Daniel Andrews, please return public transport to the people (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/07/daniel-andrews-please-return-public-transport-to-the-people) , The Guardian, 7 February 2017
* Public Transport Users Association (http://www.ptua.org.au/2017/02/02/ptua-joins-call/)

** March BRN meeting with councillors
Next month, on Tuesday 21 March, Brunswick Residents Network will be holding a meeting with the three south ward councillors, Samantha Ratnam, Mark Riley and Lambros Tapinos.

It’s a chance for you to discuss current activities in Brunswick and the councillors’ priorities in the new Council. Have your say on open space, transport, community services or what Amendment C134 means for planning in Brunswick.

Full details of time and venue in next month’s newsletter, but put Tuesday 21 March in your diary. Further information from Brunswick Residents Network at email: albertstreet2020@gmail.com

** Music and culture
My beating heart

With the advent of streaming and downloading services, how does community radio maintain its relevance to an audience with more options available to them than at any other time in history?

3RRR’s “Under the Sun” presenter Jonathan Alley will discuss how the media and music consumption landscape has transformed since 3RRR’s inception in 1976.

WHAT: Talk by “Under the Sun” presenter Jonathan Alley
WHEN: Tuesday 28 February 2017, at 7.30 pm
WHERE: Brunswick Library, Cnr Sydney Road and Dawson Street
INFO: Moreland libraries (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/libraries/library-events-and-activities/readmore-project/My-beating-heart/)

Reminder: The Brunswick Music Festival (http://brunswickmusicfestival.com.au/festival-info/) http://brunswickmusicfestival.com.au/festival-info/is on again between 5–19 March with a program of scorching genre-straddling performances occupying the streets, the usual places and unforeseen spaces of Brunswick.

The Sydney Road Street Party is on Sunday 5 March.

** Sustainable living festival

February’s Sustainable Living Festival includes a number of events in Brunswick and Coburg, including a gardening day at the SEEDS communal garden (Monday 13 February), a bamboo bike making workshop at Siteworks (February 15-19), a sustainable treasure hunt at CERES (25 February), a sustainable bike tour, walking tours and more.

If you read this early enough on Sunday 12 Feb, there’s a cycling tour (http://www.slf.org.au/event/moreland-sustainability-bike-tour/ ) visiting a number of sustainable sites across Brunswick.

For dates, times and booking details of all sustainability related events in Moreland see: http://morelandzerocarbon.org.au/events/

For all Sustainable Living Festival events for 4-28 February, see http://www.slf.org.au/

** Next Moreland Council meetings
All Council meetings – held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month – and Urban Planning Committee meetings – held on the 4th Wednesday of each month – are now held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg. Council meetings are on:
* Monday 20 February 2017 (Adopt Code of Conduct Policy) at 6 pm
* Wednesday 8 March 2017 at 7pm
* Wednesday 12 April 2017 at 7pm
* Wednesday 10 May 2017 at 7pm

Check for all meeting details at the Council website (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-and-committee-meetings.html) . Council meetings can now be watched online, either live, or later - you can find details here (http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-and-committee-meetings/council-meetings/agenda-next-council-meeting.html) along with the agenda for this week's Council meeting.
* Hint: If you go to an evening meeting at 90 Bell Street and find the doors locked, you can probably get in through the back door via Urquhart Street.

Welcome to new readers! To contact organisers of the Brunswick Residents’ Network, or to offer help with future activities, please email albertstreet2020@gmail.com (mailto:albertstreet2020@gmail.com) . (This gmail is our preferred address – but we have changed our "from" address on Mailchimp's advice to avoid your email bouncing).

Please forward this e-letter to other Moreland neighbours who’d like a say in the way their community is changing. It's easy to sign on, or edit your details to include your interests - just go to http://eepurl.com/VX4a9.

For meeting details, survey and newsletter archives, go to: https://brunswickresidents.wordpress.com

Check out our Facebook page for a range of lively discussions: Brunswick Residents Network (https://www.facebook.com/Brunswick.Residents.Network) . Help us reach more people by liking our page, commenting, forwarding this newsletter, and tweeting it using the links below.

One comment

  1. Barbara Moje · · Reply

    Hi BRN, thanks for all your work!!
    I am alarmed and dismayed that a Heritage Overlay on an old pub can be overruled by VCAT. Isn’t the illegal demolition of the Corkman in the city enough “running -roughshod” over the rules? Why have these rules at all? I am an architect an the Heritage overlays are a headache I must admit, but on the other hand I agree that our heritage must be protected and handled sensitively. I mainly deal with small projects and the bureaucracy with these overlays is amazingly onerous. So I am even more amazed and annoyed that larger developers are able to get them waived in VCAT?? I can see whose interests are more important.. Developer greed rules over everything, even our country’s shared heritage!!

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